Work-Study has allowed for senior psychology major Sonja Brown to work less hours and still be able to get by.
“If there is no Work-Study, I’m afraid that I ... won’t be able to get that $11.59 an hour benefit so I won’t be able to make ends meet,” she said.
Brown, 21, is a WSU student from Ridgefield, Wash., who is employed due to the financial aid Work-Study program. After she graduates with a degree in psychology she hopes to go to nursing school, she said.
The Work-Study program decreased from $1,000 to $500 for the 2011-2012 school year and could possibly be suspended during the special legislative session in Olympia.
“The job I work right now, it is solely based on
Work-Study and so I can’t work as many hours as I used to be able to and so I’m not making as much money as I was,” Brown said.
The current programs that help pay for Brown’s tuition and expenses are the Washington State Need Grant, other grants and Work-Study, she said.
According to the Budget Reduction Alternatives released in October the Washington State Need Grant is also in danger of being cut or reduced.
“If they cut the need grant then I don’t know how I’ll be able to afford to go to school, because I don’t have any money saved up,” Brown said. “So when it comes time to pay tuition, if I don’t have my financial aid then I don’t have my tuition and so I probably won’t be able to go to school.”
The need grant and Work-Study have benefited her education by allowing her to not have to work full-time and go to school full-time, she said. The financial aid has been able to let her spend time doing homework and studying. Brown’s expected family contribution for tuition is zero dollars.
“Kind of earlier in my life, my family always had money issues,” Brown said. “And then my dad got a steady job for a little while and then when the economy fell he was working in construction and so he lost his job and so now my family has no money again.”
She has had to pay for schooling completely on her own with no help from her family, she said.
About 70,000 low-income students are provided with the Washington State Need Grant and about 7,600 students from public and private colleges are provided with Work-Study, according to the Budget Reduction Alternatives.
“When you get the Work-Study, you also qualify for food stamps … and so that is the only way I really eat half the time because I don’t have enough money after I pay my bills,” Brown said.
If it wasn’t for Work-Study then she wouldn’t be able to qualify for food stamps, she said. Taking Work-Study out will affect the students that do utilize it to obtain food stamps as well as extra money, she said.
“I can’t go outside (of financial aid) to get a loan because I don’t have good credit and my parents don’t have good credit,” she said. “If I was forced to do that I would probably be like OK I’m good with my psychology degree, let’s go back into the working field.”